FMCSA Clearinghouse Queries: Get a Match Every Time

  • December 14, 2022
  • Jenni Gray
  • Approx. Read Time: 2 Minutes
  • Updated on June 25, 2024

On January 6, 2023, employers no longer have to check for drug & alcohol violations with a driver’s individual previous employers during onboarding. Instead, employers need only check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse.

But what do you do when you don’t get a match on your Clearinghouse queries? It can be frustrating, but following these steps will help you resolve any errors so you can get your drivers on the road.


How does the Clearinghouse validate my driver?

The FMCSA’s D&A Clearinghouse depends on the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) database to validate your driver’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)/Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) using Name, Date of Birth (DOB), Address, CDL Number, etc. 


Why am I getting an error?

Because information in the CDLIS database is provided by State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), you may occasionally get an error if the information you have provided on your driver doesn’t match with the information the SDLA has provided CDLIS. 

This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Name is not an exact match (i.e., submitting Rob instead of Robert)
  • Typos in the DOB or CDL Number
  • Driver has registered in the Clearinghouse, but has not validated their license
  • Driver has not updated and re-validated his license with the most current information
  • The submitted State of Residence (SOR) does not match the driver’s current CDL, or an old CDL from a previous state is still in the CDLIS system


What are steps I can take to prevent or fix these errors?

  • Always double-check the information you’re submitting is an exact match to what is provided on the CDL.
  • If a driver has not validated their license, the FMCSA has provided these instructions on how to complete that step. 


If the error is due to the SOR not matching, this can only be corrected by contacting the SDLA of record to update their information in CDLIS. The FMCSA Clearinghouse is unable to make these updates on behalf of the SDLA. 

A few things to remember when requesting a correction from an SDLA:

  • It typically takes an SDLA a minimum of 10 business days to update a driver’s record/profile. Some updates may take longer. 
  • The driver cannot engage in safety-sensitive functions until the issue is resolved with the SDLA, and the driver has been successfully cleared in the FMCSA D&A Clearinghouse.
  • Submitting multiple requests, or creating multiple FMCSA D&A Clearinghouse accounts, will not resolve this issue.
  • If the SDLA advises nothing is wrong with the CDL/CLP record, please ask them to run the CDL/CLP as a non-agency user/generic user, so they can see the processing error that is generated. 


How do employers select Cisive to process FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse reports?

Cisive can process your FMCSA D&A Clearinghouse queries for you! Employers should designate Cisive as a consortia/third-party administrator (C/TPA). Then, you may designate the functions Cisive should complete on your company’s behalf.

Detailed instructions to do so can be found here.

If you have any questions about the FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, contact your Client Success Team or use this form.

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